Ski Apartment Overview
Choosing the right ski holiday apartment is a very important decision to make once you have decided to go on a ski holiday to the Alps. Apartments are arguably the most popular choice of accommodation across all ski resorts and there are so many options available at the ski resorts and we believe it is imperative to do the due diligence of doing a little bit of research into the apartment complexes available at your chosen resort, just to ensure that you are selecting the right option for you and your travelling groups.
Ski apartments across the Alps deliver just about the same basic service and pretty much function in an identical fashion from one to the other, in principle. They are presented as self-catering, private accommodation spaces ideal for families and groups of friends travelling together. They all offer a great deal of independence not particularly found in other accommodation spaces like hotels and hostels. The basic amenities offered by apartments may appear indistinguishable at first glance; they all consist of a private kitchen or kitchenette, lounge area, bath and WC, internet, TV and most have a balcony. Apartments mostly aim to give visitors a cosy and comfortable home away from home atmosphere especially when you consider the flexibility it provides with travelling families with young children. The best part about these ski apartments is that you can have a home away from home, complete with all amenities. Whether it's for a romantic couple or large group of friends, it is possible to find low-cost options or high-end luxury apartments to provide and accommodate everyone so that even when visitors want to relax for a day and take a day off from the slopes, the apartment offers them the comforts they need to unwind. That being said, it is important to make sure that the apartment you select, meets your needs and requirements.
Types of Ski Apartments
Because there are simply so many ski apartments available in every ski area across Europe and further afield, finding a great deal isn’t too tricky for us. You may have to be prepared to travel out with peak times like school holidays or are open minded about sampling smaller ski resorts. For instance, during peak holiday periods cheap ski apartments might not be available in some of the well known resorts due to them being fully booked, however, there may be quality budget accommodation available in some quiet hidden gems located in less travelled countries in Europe such as Austria or Andorra. Chances are, you may enjoy yourself just as much as you would in popular ski resorts in France and Switzerland.
There two main types of ski apartment accommodation in the Alps. Although traditionally rented out as self-catering, additional catering services are increasingly becoming available. We look further into the two types of ski apartments visitors will come across and we also shed further light on the quality and star-ratings of ski apartments available across the resorts. Please bear in mind that larger ski resorts will tend to have several more options of both luxury and budget apartment accommodation and the smaller resorts may be limited in either.
Self-catering apartments, as the name suggests, are apartments that are fully equipped to provide guests with all the facilities available to prepare their own meals and essentially ‘cater’ to their own needs. This means that guests will be their own food and cook their own meals. This allows guests the flexibility of organising their own holiday inventory and managing their budget, activity timetables, preferred menus and meal times. Self-catering ski apartments offer so much more than just basic kitchen and accommodation facilities. Occasionally viewed by some as a cheaper option, the quality and variety of self-catered ski apartments have continued to improve. Accommodation providers have shown a proactive approach to apartments with a focus towards not only providing accommodation but creating a homely environment and improving the overall experience. Household goods such as soaps, bath gels, toilet rolls and towels are now provided. Some offer cleaning services and newspaper deliveries whilst others may include complementary services such as a bottle of wine or champagne on arrival.
Catered apartments offer the same accommodation spaces as self-catered apartments with the major difference being the provision of cooked meals. Whilst this may appear to be the only difference, catered ski apartments do offer a bit more than just meals. The major advantage here is that a lot of the house maintenance is taken care of for the guests. The food shop and meal preparation is taken care of and in some cases, housekeeping is an added option, thus freeing up a lot of time for guests to fully immerse themselves in having a relaxed holiday. Imagine the feeling of returning back to the apartment after a long day out in the snow and finding a tidy apartment and cooking a warm meal ready to eat. It is also important to note that catered services can differ from having full stay catering to having only a few meals cooked. Recently some restaurants and takeaway services have also incorporated catering deliveries as part of their offerings.
For guests looking to splash on a luxury chalet-style ski apartment accommodation, there are several options to select from across the resorts. Accommodation providers continue to invest a lot of resources into providing luxury ski apartment accommodation in the Alps. New builds and renovated buildings are an increasing trend across ski resorts. Luxury facilities such as spas, hammams, steam rooms gyms and indoor swimming pools within apartment blocks are becoming more common. Luxury apartments also sport high-end, chic interiors with stone and wood finishes and large fireplaces to mirror luxury chalet-style living. Instead of open-plan kitchenettes, dining and living spaces, luxury apartments feature large kitchens with all the mod-cons, double ovens and dishwashers. There are large dining rooms and living rooms with many large terraces or balconies as you would normally find in smaller cheaper ski apartments. Some luxury ski holiday apartments may also include additional services such as airport transfers and complimentary welcome hampers. Smaller boutique apartments not big enough to have wellness centres within the building may provide temporary membership to spa operators within the resort.
Budget ski apartments
Guests travelling on a tight budget or students on a group ski holiday can still find cosy and cheap ski apartment accommodation across the Alps. Budget ski apartments feature standard self-catering facilities and are significantly smaller than luxury apartments or chalets. Although they come in closer and tighter quarters than their luxury counterparts, budget ski apartments still promise a great experience. Predominantly the more popular option across the Alps, standard ski apartments still offer privacy, flexibility and independence to guests. Most are designed to have a kitchenette and open plan dining and living room area with a balcony. Depending on the size, they may have one en suite bathroom and shared bathroom and toilet for any additional rooms. The kitchens are fully equipped with utensils for cooking meals and may also have a coffee machine and due to the large influx of British visitors, electric kettles for tea! Baby chairs and sleeping cots may also be provided for families with toddlers. Ideal for young professionals on holiday, small family-sized getaways and travelling students, cheap and standard ski apartments offer everything required to have a relaxing and memorable ski experience.
Things To Consider When Booking Your Holiday Ski Apartment
We have listed a few things to consider before booking your ski holiday apartment. These points are meant to serve as a guide and ensure that you have considered certain aspects of your current situation and reflect on what your needs are to have an enjoyable holiday. As earlier mentioned, ski rental apartments range from budget studio flats to high-end luxury apartments with multiple rooms and facilities allowing for large groups of people at any time. With so many options to choose from, we would strongly recommend that when selecting your apartment, you look into what your ultimate aim of visiting the Alps are and the type of apartment which best suits your needs to ensure that your stay is memorable and enjoyable. Whether you are looking for that perfect winter hideaway or a centrally located apartment in the resort, it is always important to consider your travelling group and be in agreement with what is required in a ski apartment.
Budget: Every little helps!
If you are travelling on a budget and are looking to save a bit on accommodation so you can spend elsewhere, it is important to be aware of certain things that influence the price of the accommodation. For example, the closer the apartment is to the centre or the lifts, the more expensive it gets, in most resorts. But there is a way around this. Most resorts have shuttle buses and if you are close to a shuttle bus route, you can be in the centre in less than 15 minutes in most cases. Budget apartments may not have certain facilities like gyms or spas, however, finding an apartment that is close to an independent spa or resort wellness centre can still enable you to save on accommodation and still enjoy a few visits to the swimming pools and spas without breaking the bank.
Proximity to the lifts/pistes
Location, location, location. Very similar to the above point. It is no secret that accommodation across the board ( hotels, chalets, apartments)that are located close to the lifts rank among the ‘hottest property’ category in any ski resort. If the resort is not a purpose-built pedestrian resort with ski-in and ski-out accommodation, it may be a great idea to try and secure an apartment complex that is close to the lifts to limit time spent going to and fro. If these apartments are fully booked, look out for those that are close to the shuttle bus routes. However, if proximity is not an issue for you, feel free to select anywhere on the resort.
Quiet Time or Party Time
Are you after visiting on stag or hen parties? Do you prioritise experiencing a vibrant après-ski just as much as the time on the slopes during the day? If the answer is yes on both questions, your best bet will be to locate an apartment that is centrally located and close to the bars and nightclubs on the resort. You should be looking to have an easy walk back to the apartment after a night of partying. If you are on a quiet retreat to unwind and enjoy the pistes during the day and spa and wellness centre at night, then you are much better off finding an apartment that is not too centrally located and preferably one with a resident spa.
Restaurants and Amenities
If you are staying in a self-catering apartment, you may want to stay somewhere close to local restaurants and amenities on the resort. Staying close to the shops allows you to shop for your groceries if you are self-catering. It also means you and your travelling group are also close to restaurants and cafes if you prefer to eat out on occasion.
Travelling with young children to a pedestrian resort with ski-in and ski-out accommodation? Apartments closest to the lifts or the nursery slopes where the majority of the ski schools and instructors are located would be ideal. How big is your travelling group? Some larger sized apartments have children’s rooms with bunk beds that can sleep up to 4 children in one room, so if you are travelling with children in tow, keep an eye out for apartments that may have child-friendly or child-specific features which will make your stay so much easier to manage.
How Long Can You Book Your Ski Apartment For?
Ski apartments across the Alps have always been booked on a minimum of a week which would usually start on a weekend. This had always been the tradition in the ski resorts and still is among a good number of accommodation providers. However, more recently, due to social and economic changes in society; for example, increased offers in flights which can be found at any time of year and from anywhere around Europe easily with just one search, consumer behaviour ( including that of skiers) is beginning to change and there is now a growing number of accommodation providers who allow a little bit more flexibility regarding length of stay and rental periods to apartments. Recent research has shown that some companies surveyed believe that shorter trips work better because long stays require extra care or maintenance. Shorter apartment stays offer several advantages to visitors. It offers so much more flexibility to potential visitors by making a visit to the Alps more attractive. It cuts short the decision-making process as it becomes more convenient and achievable. They can avoid the weekend rush and possible traffic, ques at arrivals and departures at the airport, saving precious time (especially when travelling with young children). They can also enjoy short weekend breaks and because it costs less, they can visit two times or more over the ski season. And even with the traditional 7-day minimum, more accommodation providers are making mid-week exchanges i.e whilst the standard bookings were Saturday to Saturday, there are more cases of Wednesday to Wednesday bookings now. Whether you are looking for a week and more or a short 3-day visit, you should be able to find ski holiday apartments offering a flexible length of stay.
Your Ski Apartment Booking
Your ski resort accommodation forms the foundation of your holiday to the Alps. Once you have selected your ski resort, accommodation is the very next aspect to consider. We are always available and on hand to guide you through the process of booking your ski holiday to the Alps. At Erna Low, we can help you every step of the way and arrange a comprehensive deal that leaves everyone smiling and includes as many extra components as required, including ski passes, ski equipment hire and anything else that adds a final flourish to your break. We treat every customer with the utmost care but it’s always a pleasure ensuring that first-time ski holidaymakers enjoy their maiden trip to beautiful areas like the Alps or Pyrenees. Our wealth of experience means that skiing and snowboarding first-timers can trust Erna Low to get their ski holiday package (including top-notch accommodation) right the first time, every time!